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Monday, February 8, 2010

Maternal Age

New research suggests more emphasis on material age than paternal age as a risk factor. The Wall Street Journal reports on an article in the February issue of Autism Research:

A woman's chance of having a child with autism increases substantially as she ages, but the risk may be less for older dads than previously suggested, a new study analyzing more than five million births found.

"Although fathers' age can contribute risk, the risk is overwhelmed by maternal age,'' said University of California at Davis researcher Janie Shelton, the study's lead author.

Mothers older than 40 were about 50% more likely to have a child with autism than those in their 20s; the risk for fathers older than 40 was 36% higher than for men in their 20s.